Why Wear One?

March 12, 2014

The Biggest Question: Why Wear One?

Nutcase’s Outdoor Fitting Room  Credit: Ogilvy Denmark

Seen the stream of morning bicycle riders in Copenhagen or Amsterdam? Rather than a sea of helmets it’s more a sea of hair with an occasional helmeted head. But surprisingly enough, the use of bicycle helmets has been growing amongst Denmark’s cycling citizens.

Anti-helmet activists believe helmets are part of a culture of fear, and say they do less to protect bicycle riders and more to discourage cycling.  What seems true is that wearing a helmet doesn’t change how safe or how treacherous the streets and roads are; that is determined more by infrastructure – how streets are designed, how fast traffic flows.

There is one important thing we can say about helmets, however, and more specifically, about bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets are designed to do one thing. And that thing is to absorb some of the energy that is generated when the helmeted part of your head hits another object – be it curbstone, car windshield, or solid tree trunks.

Helmets give you, the rider, a piece of protection. If you are involved in a process that includes your head striking any of the above-named objects or some other object, your EPS-lined (expanded polystyrene) helmet, if it’s properly positioned, will help absorb some of the mighty forces that occur at the time of a blow. That’s saying something, and the something that it is saying may make it worthwhile for you, as cyclist, skateboarder, snowboarder, skier, or other swift-moving person, to wear one.